Thursday, June 16, 2016

Beaches, Tacos, and Ferris Wheels (D.C. Weekend #1)

Soft Shelled Tacos from Mission in Dupont Circle
They were deliciouss, so great after a day at the beach

A street near Georgetown university that we passed on our way back from the beach. I thought the steep street on the left looked cool-- incredibly artsy, as if it were right out of some abstract painting form Dali. So of course, a pic was taken ;)

 Bay Harbor by the Potomac River. Ate Chipotle, watched Toy Story 3 outside (outdoor movie under the blazing sun...too bad it isn't dark at 6 pm during the summer), and Ben and Jerry's. Mmmm would highly recommend the brownie batter one.

  A snipet of Dupont Circle :)

Sunday, June 12, 2016

A Summer to Remember

My number one goal this summer is to squeeze as much out of this precious time as possible. I want to taste different food, see beautiful scenery, touch another part of the world, sense an aspect of life that I never knew existed. Since I'm interning in the D.C. area, there's a variety of places to visit in order to fulfill my thirst to really live. So much of my time is spent in university, studying for the upcoming exam, completing homework, worrying about my future plans, immersed in a textbook, library, out of touch with the world. This summer, I plan to take a step back and reassess the way I've been "doing" life. One of my biggest fears in life is looking back on my youth and regretting my inability to let loose once in a while and experience the world in its entirety. I've learned from my first year of college that striking a balance in life is much easier said than done, and few can excel in all areas of life. It would be naive for me to assume that I can change my rather type A tendencies overnight, and that it's a bad trait in the first place.

My drive is what got me where I am in the first place. It's what fuels my passion to learn, desire to better myself, and ironically, my hope to gain a new set of experiences this summer. So I embrace my personality, in its entirety. There's no need to change who you are. I think the idea of self-improvement is more about making minor tweaks to your current self in order to build a satisfactory life. If you're satisfied with partying all the time. Fine. Do it. If you're not, then pick up a new hobby, read a book or something. If you're satisfied with studying non-stop in the library, go right ahead. My second semester of college was especially busy, so much of the day was spent in class, lab, or studying. I'd get a nagging pit in my stomach at the end of the day when I considered events I didn't go to. Or the lack of human interaction that took place. When finals were finally over, I felt empty. Unfulfilled. Suddenly realizing that in the midst of my crazy hectic schedule, I neglected to maintain and nourish friendships and personal hobbies. One of which was writing in this blog. So for me, a change in my overly scholarly tendencies were quite necessary to keep me sane. To keep me feeling alive. Like a full human being.

This first weekend here, I've been surprisingly great at "doing stuff." Yesterday, I took a spontaneous trip to the beach with my roommate. The beach was incredibly small and overpriced, and we literally just layed under the sun for a while, instead of hitting the waves and getting crazy in the waters like I usually do at beaches (cuz there were barely any waves...hello bay beaches in Maryland). Nevertheless, the experience was incredibly relaxing, and opened my eyes to the raw freedom that we actually have. A freedom to go anywhere if we just got off our lazy butts and did it. We then went to Dupont circle and ate delicious soft tacos. Great day. Today, I went to an outdoor movie at National Harbor-- so beautiful--and had amazing conversations with my new friends.

See, if you try, you can experience so much in just two days. The world is such a beautiful place, and sometimes all it takes is moving forward one step for a whole 'nother breathtaking view. I'm considering creating a D.C. summer series in which I document the food (both made by me! and restaurant cuisine), and the places that I visit. It'll force me to take more pictures, and give you guys some fun trip ideas if you're ever in the area.

I'm gonna peace out now, and get ready for an early morning tomorrow... back to my busy internship whoop. Have an amazing rest of the week, or day, or night, to whoever is reading this. You deserve it.

Friday, May 27, 2016

On Being Socially Accepted

I have always tried to stray from the crowd, subtly. Instead of giving in to a burger, I'll make myself a delicious salad or sandwich. Instead of following them over there, I'll stand over here; independent, free from the crowd. Instead of drinking alcohol like everyone else, I'll have fun and dance sober.

I don't follow trends, rarely use social media, never gossip, refrain from hookups, eat healthy, and the list goes on. But underneath the aura of my individualistic, strange, "old- soul" habits, I want to be accepted. I want to belong. I want to be liked and respected by those around me. So I stray slightly from the path, but return when the road gets dangerously rocky, and lonely.

In our individualistic society, we're taught to embrace our uniqueness, because if we don't, who else will? Yet, there comes a point when being too different means becoming a pariah of society; when "unique" means "weird," and your quirks make you incomprehensible to others. There's no denying the fact that people like others who share common interests and opinions-- it's a form of connection. Being too different prevents you from being understood. I used to be embarrassed of my secret desire to fit in, in spite of my public insistence against popular trends, music, and habits. But now I'm starting to realize that it's perfectly fine to want to be liked. It's fine to follow the crowd once in a while, as long as you still think for yourself.
I'm starting to realize that our strange desire to be different is in itself, an attempt to be liked. Because everyone likes the free-thinker, no one likes a doormat. The trick is balance. Balance that urge to fit in and that desire to be "unique." 

Sunday, February 7, 2016

It's Not You (Short Story)

An aroma of rich coffee filled the crowded cafĂ©. Dim yellow lights colored the room-- cheerful with a hint of veiled depression. A woman and man sat in the far corner, next to a window. The woman had an untouched mug of cappuccino, and frequently turned away to gaze at the parking lot outside; the man took frequent sips of his plain expresso, his eyes intently on her expression. 

“I know that’s not what you want to hear,” she said, fiddling with the mug handle.
“I know it’s not what you really mean.” He took a large gulp of coffee and stretched his arms to his head.
“Jed, I know exactly what I mean. Don’t tell me what I’m thinking.”
“I know you, Sarah. You don’t really mean it.”
“Can we talk about something else?”
“Sarah, you can’t just change the topic after telling me that.”
“Let’s just talk about something else, and revisit the topic later.” She turned her head away from him. “There’s so many cars in the lot today.”
“It’s a Saturday afternoon, of course there are,” he said without looking. His eyes remained fixed on her.

Averting her eyes from his, she counted the number of red cars in the lot. 14.

“Sarah, you should drink that before it gets cold.”
“Don’t tell me what to do. God I hate it when you do that.” She sighed and rubbed her temples.
“Geez it was just a suggestion, Sarah. You know I can’t make you do anything.” He remained composed in the same open and relaxed posture, looking at her.
“I’m just done with this. With you. I’ve told you the truth. We’re done,” she says, agitated.
“Hey, it’s okay Sarah. Look at me. Look at me, Sarah, you can’t be serious.” His beseeching tone makes her finally lift her eyes to his.

A long second passed as they decipher each other’s gaze.

The man suddenly turned away, frowning. “Damn you. It’s true.”
A tear fell down the woman’s face. “I’m sorry Jed. I’m so sorry.”
“Damn you.” He knocked her mug to the ground; broken white shards amidst a lukewarm caramel puddle.
The woman started to cry harder, mumbling incoherent phrases. Wiping her face with one hand, she picked up her stained bag with the other. “Bye Jed.” She walks out of the coffee shop, still sniffling and breathing rapidly.

The man groaned and covered his face with his hands. Five minutes passed by. A dark haired man in an ironed white polo shirt, light brown pants, body cowered, face hidden in large masculine hands; a table for two with a knocked over chair; broken pieces of a mug floating above untouched coffee.

Finally, he lifted his head and looked out the window. There were no cars in the parking lot.

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I had a dream that students at my college found out about my anonymous blog. My professor stated that the writer of the blog would become our school's treasurer (no idea where that came from) and asked him/her to come forth. The students around me snickered. Apparently they thought the blog was frivolous and stupid. I sat lower in my seat; no way did I plan to confess to a blog so openly mocked by everyone. I mentally scrolled down my blog, remembering how many rants about love and feelings it contained. My non-existent love life and naive feelings. My face flushed and the air felt thicker, suffocating. Suddenly, I realized something. The profile picture. I could be identified by my blogger profile picture. I took out my computer and quickly changed the picture to a flower or something. All the while, my heart pounded and I felt uncomfortably hot. 

My memory of that dream fades after that point.

Looking back, I wonder why I was so embarrassed by this blog. I know it was just a dream, but dreams often reveal some subconscious desire or fear. Things we try to deny or set aside during the day. So I guess this dream shows that I am still affected by peer pressure. In high school, I was "that girl" who scoffed at fashion trends, popularity, and parties. I did sports, played an instrument, took rigorous courses, and never really "belonged" to a stereotypical category. In fact, I declared those stereotypes stupid and did my own thing. But perhaps a part of me still yearns for peer validation and inclusion.
I'm also deathly afraid of exposure. Since this is a personal blog, I tend to write without censor. A lot of what is here is not known to my friends. I cringe to think what would happen if other people who personally know me had a peek into my uncensored mind.

The fact that this blog is not crazy popular and has limited page views right now allows me to write about everything. But who knows if it will change in the future. At some point, I'll have more followers, and writing here will feel more like writing on the web versus a personal diary. I'll probably watch my wording, ramble less, select more interesting topics, etc. And, I'll feel more vulnerable. Like I felt in my dream. But that's okay. Exposure and vulnerability are okay.

So own up to your actions, whether it's an anonymous blog, a lie, or a mistake. At some point, those bottled secrets will reveal themselves. And you'll be in constant torment before then. Living a life of secrets and unspoken thoughts chains you down. So free yourself before the chains permanently indent your wrists. Before the secrets infest your well being.
Before you forget what you live for.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

An Insomniatic Night (Short Story)

She laid face up on her bed, counting the seconds that passed, feeling the thumps of her heart, and replaying the last day, week, year. The past and future flickered below tense eyelids, quickening her heartbeat. Bedtime had become a safe haven for her thoughts; every night, they flooded her consciousness, too powerful to be blocked. She drowned in reminiscent memories, regrets, and future plans, heaving and breathless amidst the waves. She heard her roommate’s soft snores, and realized that everyone was deep asleep but her. That awareness rose in her a sense of exclusion and loneliness. They were in the world of slumber, while she remained trap in the ever-slow earthbound time. Then suddenly, another realization dawned on her, stimulating her body into a state of hyperactivity. The energy flowed through her spine, and she felt more alive than ever. She sat upright on her bed and quietly climbed down her bunk bed.
Jacket. Scarves. Gloves. Ear muffs.
The night was beautiful. Enshrouded by the veil of darkness, lighted by the soft moonlight, she felt invincible. Throwing her head back, roaring with laughter, she danced like a ballerina intoxicated by the pure air. Air for her breathes, ground for her feet, dancing for her sake only. She spun and leaped and pounced until her body was heated from the exertion.
Gentle white flurries began to pollinate the surroundings. Soon, a fine layer of crystalline snow outlined the trees and buildings. She stopped dancing to admire the new beauty around her. A smile lit her face and she started laughing uncontrollably. The melody of her joy vibrated throughout the white world. So this is how it’s supposed to feel, she thought. Looking up the the heavens, arms outstretched, she drank the sky.     

Friday, January 8, 2016

Know When to Quit

I've been studying for finals all week, and from the killer organic chemistry practice exams, I have noticed that stubbornly persevering is not always the best solution. I often wrecked my mind trying to figure out one difficult question, wasting hours of time, feeling frustrated, and ending nowhere. There comes a point when I need to take a break, move on to the next problem, or just take a peak at the answer (*confesses guiltily ^.^) Persevering can be tough, but learning when to quit is even harder. This relates to multiple areas of life, whether it's a hobby you're no longer passionate about, or a long-term relationship that isn't working. 

Sticking to something that is not progressing your life, not invigorating your soul, not growing your mind, not moving you and making you feel alive is dangerous. Maybe it's an hour wasted this time. Soon, it'll be months, years, decades that pass by you, and you'll be left nothing but a token for endurance and regret. 

I think a major cause of "ruts" in life is being too comfortable with the familiar, and fearing change. To quit is to suddenly alter a consistency in your life, and the more ingrained this hobby, person, or career is in your life, the longer you've had it, the stronger the impact. Another struggle with quiting is the mere fact that you've persevered for so long and put in so much already. Quiting means you lose the work and the time. And at the onset, you may feel empty, devoid of something. But at this void point in your life,  you will have the biggest chance to grow. You can embrace new opportunities and experiences, and find what gives you more excitement and growth. 

I was taught never to quit. My parents instilled in me the importance of hard work early on in my childhood. When I do something, I put in my whole commitment and effort, and I think that's one of my best character traits. But I tend to fall into the habit of never quiting, even when I should...thank you organic chemistry for reminding me...
So from now on, I'm going to check myself when I cling for too long on a person, relationship, hobby, etc. And I hope you guys do too. Quiting is okay, and sometimes, it is for the better.